Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park: green spaces near Park Grand London Kensington

Kensington Garden

Visiting London can be a busy and exciting experience. But sometimes the hustle and bustle of the big city can get a bit overwhelming. The good news is that the capital has plenty of beautiful green expanses where you can go for a breath of fresh air.

These lovely verdant spaces offer a variety of activities, from walking and cycling to horse riding and roller skating, and if you’d prefer something a little less strenuous, you can also have a picnic, soak up the sun (if it’s out) and do a bit of people watching.

Here at the Park Grand London Kensington, we’re lucky that two of London’s finest green spaces – Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park – are less than a mile away. This means that visitors can enjoy all the benefits of our comfortable and stylish hotel while being within easy reach of some of the region’s best parks.

The two parks are distinctly separate spaces and are separated by a road called West Carriage Drive. However, they are often perceived as a single park since they are contiguous neighbours. In fact, the two were once the same park – Hyde Park – until they were separated in 1728 when Queen Caroline wanted to create a landscape garden at Kensington Palace.

What’s more, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park form a chain with Green Park and St James’s Park, meaning that you could walk or cycle from Kensington Palace to Horseguards Parade in Whitehall, without ever leaving parkland (except to cross the road).

Kensington Gardens

Once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, this picturesque park covers an area of 270 acres. It was designed by Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman and included fashionable features including a large round pond and a sunken Dutch garden. The Long Water, the river-like water feature that weaves through Kensington Gardens, and on to Hyde Park, where it’s known as the Serpentine is a popular part of the garden.

Kensington Gardens has also been featured in a number of books and stories – most notably, elements of the Peter Pan story by JM Barrie.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is located at the north-west corner of the park. It was built on the site of the existing Peter Pan children’s playground, and it feeds off of themes that were already found in the older play area. The most prominent feature is a full-scale wooden pirate ship, which children can climb on, slide down and let their imaginations run wild. There are also swings, a water park and an area specifically for children with special needs.

Other things to look out for on a visit to the park include:

    • The Albert Memorial
    • The Serpentine Gallery
    • Speke’s Monument
    • The Elfin Oak
    • The Italian Garden fountains
    • The Statue of Peter Pan

Kensington Gardens is open all year from dawn until dusk.

Hyde Park

Covering an area of 625 acres, Hyde park was created as a hunting ground for Henry VIII in 1536. It was originally enclosed as a deer park, and it remained private hunting grounds until James I permitted limited access to gentlefolk. In 1637, Charles I opened the park to the general public.

The Great Exhibition of 1851 took place in Hyde Park, and it saw the construction of the Crystal Palace on the southern side of the park. After the exhibition, the impressive structure was dismantled and moved to Sydenham Hill in South London.

One of the most interesting features of the park is Speaker’s Corner. Located at the north-east corner of the park, across the street from Marble Arch, this is an open-air space where public speaking, debate and discussion are allowed. Speakers are allowed to talk here for as long as they remain lawful and, while it’s not the only designated speaker’s corner in the UK, it’s by far the most popular.

If you decide to make your voice heard on Speaker’s Corner, it’s important to note that the location doesn’t make you immune from the law. However, you’ll also be speaking out in a place where many famous people have tried to get their messages heard – including Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell.

Of course, there’s plenty more to see and do inside the park, and highlights include:

    • The Grand Entrance
    • The Wellington Arch
    • The Tyburn Gallows
    • Rotten Row
    • The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
    • The Holocaust Memorial
    • The 7 July Memorial
    • The Weeping Beech
    • The Still Water sculpture
    • The Jelly Baby Family sculpture
    • The Vroom Vroom sculpture

The park is open year round from 5 am until midnight.